Perhaps you have heard them called irritating, sandpaper, or prickly people. They are those we come in contact with who are difficult to love. As Christ-followers, we know we are called to love unconditionally in the same way God loves us. Yet, sometimes we have difficulty loving prickly people.
In my life there is one particularly prickly person. No matter how I try not to be offended by her words or actions, she irritates me. At times she seems to go out of her way to be rude and mean-spirited. I dread anytime I know we will be in the same room together.
After many years and much serious time with Jesus, my relationship with this woman is improving.
At first my prayers for the relationship were selfish. I asked God to keep her away from me.
When that didn’t work, I tried to avoid her as much as possible. Trying to avoid her wasn’t a good solution, though.
Finally, I asked God to help me see her as he saw her. I asked God to show me my part in the problem and what I should do as a result.
God showed me this prickly person hurt others because others hurt her. He showed me she belittled others because others belittled her. God showed me he loved this woman just as much as he loved me.
I wish I could tell you once I understood these things, our relationship improved immediately. That isn’t the case. Our relationship continues to be a struggle. The old two steps forward. One step back.
But it is improving.
Here are a few suggestions I’ve found to help us when we have difficulty loving prickly people.
Being humble and gracious is better than being prideful and selfish. We’re not always right. Even if we were, we don’t need to risk a relationship to prove it.
We don’t always have to have things our way. It’s okay to let the other person win. Compromise is not a bad word.
Genuine compliments go a long way.
Maybe that’s where we start loving prickly people in our life. Even when it’s hard. Even when it hurts. Even when we would rather not.
I wish you well.